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Legal scholarship highlight: The Amicus Machine - Appellate Practice News

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Appellate Practice News


Posted on: Nov 22, 2016

By Josh S. Tatum, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

Could “the Supreme Court bar” be shaping the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket by asking fellow elite lawyers to file amicus briefs to support each other’s petitions? Neal Devins and Alison Orr Larsen argue that is exactly what’s going on in this “age of the Supreme Court amicus” where the group of voices represented in a given case “is orchestrated and intentional.” In this world, where the average argued case attracts 13 amicus briefs, successful litigation requires an “amicus wrangler” and an “amicus whisperer.” The “Amicus Machine” is feeds and is fed by the Supreme Court’s “new hunger for information outside the record and the unprecedented rise in briefs conveying that information,” producing an “arms race” between parties. Devins and Orr Larsen detail these developments and the concerns they raise in a post at SCOTUSblog here. The post is itself a preview of their upcoming law-review article, which can be downloaded here.

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